A cross-dressing musical, "Kinky Boots," won an unprecedented six Tony Awards, and "Matilda the Musical," which, too, has a leading man dressed as a woman, bagged four gongs at Radio City Music Hall in New York City on Sunday night.
The awards of "Kinky Boots," which features songs by pop star and Broadway newcomer Cyndi Lauper, included Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical and Best Original Score written for the Theatre.
The play is about a traditional shoemaker, who turns to producing fetishism footwear in order to save the failing family business and the jobs of his workers. Its star, Billy Porter, who plays the cross-dressing lead, also got an award for Best Actor in a Musical, beating Bertie Carvel from "Matilda the Musical" and a few others.
Lauper won a Tony Award for best original score in her Broadway debut as a composer – the first woman to win a best score Tony without having to share it with a man.
"Matilda the Musical" – written by Dennis Kelly, with music and lyrics by Tim Minchin – won four Tonys from its 12 nominations. The play features Bertie Carvel, an Olivier Award-winning British actor, who cross-dresses as Miss Trunchbull, a headmistress and the main antagonist in the play.
"Matilda," based on the children's novel of the same name by Roald Dahl, is about a precocious 5-year-old girl who loves to read and how she overcomes family and school obstacles and helps her teacher to reclaim her life.
The musical bagged Tonys for revival of a play, director of a play and actor in a play – given to Tracy Letts, who beat Tom Hanks, star of the late Nora Ephron's journalism tale "Lucky Guy."
"I think artistically it was a good season. I really liked 'Kinky Boots.' I really liked 'Matilda.' I really liked the plays that are nominated for best play," The Associated Press quoted Todd Haimes, the artistic director of the nonprofit Roundabout Theatre Company, as saying before the award night. "I thought some of the performances were some of the most extraordinary I've seen in a long time."
Neil Patrick Harris hosted the awards for the fourth time.
The winners were determined by 868 Tony voters, including members of The Broadway League, American Theatre Wing, Actors' Equity, the Dramatists Guild, Stage Directors and Choreographers Society as well as critics from the New York Drama Critics Circle.